- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
- Foreign minister vows response if Russians are attacked in Ukraine
At long last, Nick DeLeon makes his presence felt as United win 1-0
Rookie created Pontius’ goal
For the past 3½ months, Nick DeLeon has found himself running right up against the rookie wall. Those darting runs from the flank that came with such frequency earlier have been few and far between. Concurrently, his spot in the starting lineup became an uncertain proposition.
But in D.C. United’s 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday, DeLeon turned back the clock to the spring, creating Chris Pontius‘ goal with a foray down the right side that blended the speed, physicality and skill that made the midfielder an early Rookie of the Year candidate.
The triumph over Columbus (8-8-4) snapped a two-game losing streak for United (11-7-3) and gave the club its seventh straight win at RFK Stadium.
Pontius‘ strike came four minutes after halftime. Muscling off stiff opposition from Josh Williams, DeLeon beat the left back down the wing and end line, danced around a challenge from Milovan Mirosevic and forced a pass in front of goal.
Once Sebastian Miranda blocked a back heel stab from United striker Long Tan, Pontius was there at the far post to hammer home his 10th tally of the season.
After notching three goals and three assists in his first seven appearances for United, DeLeon hasn’t made a statistical contribution since April 22 — shortly before he was sidelined four games with a hamstring injury.
While his play to set up Pontius doesn’t go down in the record book as an assist, it’s safe to say he earned the credit.
“I felt like mentally I got into a little slump,” DeLeon said. “So recently I’ve just really been focusing on amping my game up to the next level because you can’t be satisfied with where you’re at. So these couple weeks in practice, I’ve just been working hard, pushing it, trying to get to that next level.”
Added Pontius: “It’s tough. You go from having a three-month season to all of a sudden, with preseason, it’s 10-plus months. So consistency is the hardest thing as a rookie.”
Olsen went with the starting 11 he auditioned in practice throughout the week, giving Tan, 24, his first start since the player was acquired June 28 from Vancouver. The coach also added center back Emiliano Dudar, who hadn’t made a league appearance since straining his hamstring in late April.
United were the aggressors in the first half. After D.C. sent a slew of long balls out of the back, forward Dwayne De Rosario began dropping into midfield to help break down the conservative strategy of the Crew, who defeated United 1-0 in Columbus two weeks ago.
“It was a little bit complicated,” Dudar said via a translator. “It’s one of the things we need to work on during the week, to learn how to administer the ball better because it has to be one of our key things at home.”
In the 13th minute, Andy Gruenebaum made an exquisite kick save to deny Tan after a give-and-go with De Rosario. Just before halftime, Kitchen struck the post when he ran onto a looping through ball from De Rosario. United also drew a trio of yellow cards.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Luis Silva realizes potential in D.C. United playmaking role
- United, D.C. hope this new stadium plan will be the last
- Jared Jeffrey returns to U.S. in search of playing time after European tour
- Sonny Silooy's career has evolved from standout defender to standout talent developer
- Alain Rochat adjusts to D.C. United move with growing family on his mind
Latest Blog Entries
- Jason Levien, Ben Olsen discuss D.C. United's $300M stadium plan
- Conor Doyle loan continues D.C. United youth movement
- Ben Olsen discusses trading Brandon McDonald to Real Salt Lake
- Interview outtakes: Sonny Silooy
- Hello Luis Silva, Collin Martin, goodbye Alain Rochat: Breaking down D.C. United's busy day
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Harry Reid using tax dollars to fight Koch brothers, La. GOP chair charges
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- Professor apologizes after blasting Republicans in class
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014